When it comes to the tourism industry, airboats are pretty much synonymous with the Florida Everglades, rivers, and swamps. Airboats, also known as “fan boats,” effortlessly cruise through waterways that are often not accessible by other vehicles. Traveling on top of the water, they provide a unique elevated view of the abundant wildlife and nature found on the Peace River. Check out these fun facts about this versatile vehicle 

Famous Inventor

The first airboat was built in 1905 by a team led by none other than Alexander Graham Bell. If that name sounds familiar, you’re right! He is also credited with inventing the telephone. That first airboat was built in Nova Scotia and coined “The Ugly Duckling” due to its appearance. The invention began to appear in Florida in the 1930s, making the state’s dense, swampy, shallow waterways easier to navigate and becoming a fast favorite for agritourism businesses. 

Perfect for Florida Waterways

Airboats are flat-bottomed boats made from aluminum or fiberglass. Their flat-bottomed design allows it access to the many shallow waterways of Florida. Traditional boats can’t compete with this feature, making airboats the best way to navigate swamps, rivers, and marshlands. They offer the premier way to explore and experience the Everglades and other bodies of water. 

Made for Speed

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of an airboat is that it is powered by an aircraft engine and a propeller often used for small planes. These solid engines and propellers allow the boats to move forward at up to 55 mph! While we’re on the topic of movement, did you know airboats can’t move in reverse and don’t have brakes? 


The hull goes into the water on traditional boats, making it possible for things below the surface to be damaged, including plants and wildlife. Airboats, with their flat-bottomed design, are perfect for traversing our Florida waterways as they do not cause damage to the sensitive ecosystem.

Ready to experience these unique boats? Come join us! We’re located in DeSoto County, just a short drive from Sarasota, Venice, North Port, and Myakka City. Reserve your airboat tour today.